Surveillance Cameras for Lagos
By Kazeem Akintunde
Monday, September 22, 2008
Lagos State government installs surveillance cameras to fight crime and check traffic chaos
Lagos State may soon be too hot for criminals to operate. This is because surveillance cameras have been installed in strategic locations across the state. Sources told Newswatch last week, that more than 1,000 surveillance cameras have been installed across the state. The overall objective is to install 10,000 cameras across the state.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, who on September 11, launched the Statewide Inter-Connectivity Network and e-payment system, said the state government would now be in a better position to tackle the problem of crime while the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, would also be better equipped to monitor traffic and provide better co-ordination of the public. "It will lead to a reduction in the man-hour loss due to traffic congestion and the inconvenience of traffic jams," he said.
According to the governor, a command centre would be established for the police to effectively monitor the metropolis for security breaches. He said the recordings from the cameras could be played back to know what happened "when no human being was watching. With this, we can better secure lives and properties and bring criminal elements to book," Fashola said.
With the launch of the network, opportunities have been created for effective addressing of various socio-economic issues in Lagos. "The opportunities are limitless. I think the most devastating blow is being struck on poverty today. We are poised to continue to consolidate our position as a model city where things work and which is also destination of choice for its residents, investors and tourists," he said.
The governor explained that the ICT network would create jobs and enable the state to increase its capacity to offer services at a more efficient pace, as it would mean that Aholu Menu Toyi 1, Akran of Badagry can have a short discussion with the governor from Badagry without driving down to Lagos. "Our people in Badagry can make payments and get verifications without putting their cars on the road, thus ensuring shorter travelling time, more petrol efficiency in cars and more money in individuals’ pockets," the governor said.
Obafemi Hamzat, commissioner for science and technology, said with the launching of the network, the drive to digitalise Lagos has started, pointing out that it would transform Lagos into a knowledge based economy. Hamzat believes that through the interconnectivity network, everywhere in Lagos would be connected thus ensuring better administration, security of lives and property and discourage touting while enhancing government revenue.
Sources told Newswatch that the second phase of the network would allow the state to deliver on telemedicine, drive interactive rural education via video conferencing, provide rural telephony, improve community policing and enhance government to citizens’ interaction through faster access to public information. Already, a video conferencing device has been installed in Fashola’s office while a link would be established to all the 20 local government councils and the 37 development areas in the state that would facilitate quick communication between Fashola and the council bosses.
Wale Edun, former commissioner for finance in the state, told Newswatch that armed robbers are in for tougher times in the state as the surveillance camera would pick up their activities wherever it is carried out. "The police would be able to trace their cars and there would be no place for them to hide," Edun said.
Frank Mba, police public relations officer, PPRO, also told Newswatch that with the approval of a joint military-police patrol of Lagos by the federal government as well as the installation of the security cameras, criminals’ days are numbered in the state.
Surveillance cameras are recognised as the standard security device used in traffic control, property monitoring and crime detection. They are used by many government branches, businesses and private home owners. Surveillance cameras are primarily used for monitoring. Cities such as London and Johannesburg have installed several surveillance cameras throughout the city as a means of deterring and capturing criminals. It has met with success, particularly in the area of car theft. In the United States of America, cities such as New York and Chicago are also using surveillance cameras.